WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

MOTION FOR A CONTINUANCE


“DELAYS HAVE DANGEROUS ENDS”
King Henry VI, Part I, Act 3 Scene II.


After some procrastination, a debate has broken out on the blog about delays in criminal cases. We started the contretemps with a blub about a case before Judge Glick that took several years to get started. After that we responded to some comments on the blog, and our position was that we would delay a case if it benefited our client. To that end, we recognize that delays usually adversely affect the prosecution and benefit the defense. As we often tell our clients, after the arrest, the case is not going to get better for the prosecution, while there are a whole host of things that could happen that could make it better for the defense. We commented that delaying a case was not unethical. Then this comment arrived:

To Rump at 5:49 and Anonymous at 8:51, have either of you read Rule 4-3.2 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar recently? It specifically states that lawyers should expedite litigation. There is no exception concerning criminal defendants. While the end result may be beneficial to your client because witnesses disappear and your client gets a better plea, I definitely would not characterize such an action as "ethical." You are lucky that there are so many defense attorneys involved with the Florida Bar and grievance committees because, unfortunately, I doubt that your conduct will ever be disciplined, especially since almost every defense attorney engages in the same conduct. But just because everyone does it does not mean it is ethical.

Rumpole responds: There are two issues at work here, but for now we will address the issue of delaying a case for the sake of a client. The rule cited above states exactly as follows:

A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of the client.

First, usually in a civil matter, the interests of the client side with a quick resolution. Thus the rule appears, but does not state, that it is aimed at civil cases. However, one can imagine a situation with a client incarcerated who needs a quick resolution. So the real issue is, what does a lawyer do when the interests of his client lie with a delay in the matter? The comment attached to the rule states in part: “Nor will failure to expedite be reasonable if done for the purpose of frustrating an opposing party’s attempt to obtain rightful redress or repose.”

Thus, on first blush, it appears, that a defense attorney delaying a case for the benefit of his/her client is in violation of this rule.

Rule 4-1.3 (Diligence) contains this statement in the comments: “A lawyer must also act with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and with zeal in advocacy upon the client’s behalf.”

(reading all these rules is starting to make us a bit nauseous. We have a policy against research in general in most matters.)

Let’s take it to the extreme: A lawyer is hired to represent a client accused of aggravated assault with a firearm where the gun was discharged. The client is facing a 20 year minimum mandatory under the 10-20-life statute. The state lists 5 witnesses: one complaining witness; one eyewitness; 3 cops. The lawyer quickly takes the two witnesses depositions and realizes the cops who did not see the event are probably not that important. The three cops, as is their practice, fail to appear for their first two scheduled depositions. Along the way, the lawyer learns that the two witnesses have met, fallen in love, and will be moving to Australia to start their new life in a month.


The case appears for sounding- can the lawyer, knowing that a continuance will benefit his client, truthfully tell the court he needs a continuance because the three officers failed to appear for deposition?

Has the lawyer acted with zeal and advocacy towards his client, or is the lawyer in violation of Rule 4-3.2?

We must admit we would ask for the continuance. We do not feel we are doing anything unethical, and we are acting in our client’s best interest. However, legal minds may differ, and we expect to hear from our readers about this.

The other side of this coin, as we mentioned above, are the time constraints associated with the current practice of criminal law. Most practitioners do not get clients that can pay fess such that they can concentrate on just a few cases. Many criminal practitioners will handle a gamut of cases running from murder to DUI, and various second and third degree felonies and misdemeanors in between. The small stuff, which can become time consuming, pays the bills while the lawyer scrambles to make time to work on the big cases. The change in the court appointment payment system only makes the pressures worse, not better.

The fact of the matter is that this is the real reason serious cases take so long to prepare. The lawyer is balancing the work on the case against the constant demands of the smaller cases that pay bills, and demand attention as well. Much like the problems doctors are facing, we would all like to spend more quality time with our clients working on their case. But the demands of running an office and paying bills work against all but the most fortunate among us.

We continue to persist in both comments we previously made: The State court system can do more to guard against the unreasonable delays of cases taking years to prepare for trial; and any lawyer who delays a case for their client’s benefit is not acting unethically.

We invite comments in the matter.

See you in court, not asking for continuances, as we like trying cases.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

5:11 here -
Christian,
What you said that was false? I'm not sure what you are referring to regarding my last post. If you want to get technical, everything you say pretty much is false - but I don't think that's what you meant. The reason that I have not posted my name is because I know that people who have posted their names in the past, you have personally attacked for their opinions. Plus, why bother - most of your little friends don't post theirs while attacking my friends. Quite frankly, the main reason is because I'm embarrassed to admit that I still feel compelled to engage in any conversation with any of you. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I can't seem to help but defend the decent people and ideals that you all want to slander. It bothers me that a group of worthless people are able to lie about those who have been good to not only me, but most of YOU too. So there's your reason for my withholding my name...

Anonymous said...

3:14:00 p.m., what was that rant about?

the trialmaster said...

sometimes, the bottomfeeders move a continace so their indigent clients have more time to pay their fee. "witness green has yet to appear" was the phrase to alert the judge that the lawyer needed more time to collect his/her fee. the old time judges always granted this motion. not anymore because alot of the current judges have never been in private practice .

Anonymous said...

Rumpole,

I am impressed you know the rules and applaud you for citing them on your blog.

I will let you know that as a Bar attorney, I have prosecuted a criminal attorney for exactly what you are discussing: delaying a case and seeking continuances which, in my opinion, violated the rule concerning expediting litigation. I lost. The Referee seemed to think that it was an "effective" defense because the defendant ended up getting a good plea offer in the end due to the defense attorney's tactics. The matter is now pending in the Supreme Court. I don't know what the answer is, but ponder this: you are sitting in jail, you go to court, the case is continued, you sit in jail, you go to court,the case is continued, you sit in jail, you go to court, the case is continued, you sit in jail, etc. Rule 4-3.2 was meant to move things along so that the party can have his day in court. I realize that there are benefits to delaying the case and the defendant may end up getting a better plea in the end. But what about the defendant who goes to trial and ends up getting an acquittal because he was actually innocent. He sat in jail for years because the defense attorney delayed the case. Is that justice?

Concerning the issue of payment, I have always had a pay check and know that I am naive when it comes to dealing with clients and having to worry about payment. I realize those are the realities of private practice, which is exactly why I never went into private practice. But as important as money is, does that mean your client should be sitting in jail waiting for his day in court. It, unfortunatley, is a Catch-22. I certainly think that private attorneys should be getting paid and should not have to make financial sacrifices, but again, think about that innocent person in jail who is waiting for his day in court.

Barnaby Min

Anonymous said...

If it's in the best interests of the client, I think you have an ethical duty to get the continuance if you can do so without making misrepresentations to the court.

Jason Grey said...

Who cares who holds the office of public defender? No one but those who work there should care at all. I have nothing against Bennett, Weed and their crew and could care less how they manage their office or how much $ they make. We all like to think we did it better, faster, and with more dedication in our day, but the bottom line is that poor people shouldn’t get screwed over by the system for want of money to hire an attorney. Brummer’s office is as good or better than any pdo in the country when it comes to in- court representation and that’s what counts. Case closed.
To speed up the system simply do away with depositions, and like magic cases are ready in 6 weeks instead of 6 months. Depos are usually a colossal waste of money and resources. I am sure we can all think of examples where depos led to a nolle pros or victory but how many losses might be attributed to cops who cant remember facts using their depo as a script; or cops all reading each others depos to get the story straight, or for a prosecutor who was in undergrad when the arrest was made to learn the facts of the case. Real lawyers don’t need depositions.

Rumpole said...

Mr. Min- I must admit being surprised to learn that one of my colleagues has been prosecuted by the bar for asking for a continuance. I hope it was a severe and unusual case.

And let me be clear on an issue near and dear to my heart- fees- I do not believe that it is ethical to ask for a continuance to get a fee. As much of a problem as fees are, we as lawyers need to resolve our business issues before heading to court. My hypothetical concerns only the issue of a continuance benefiting the client not the attorney. An attorney can never put his or her business interest before his client's interests.

Jason Grey said...

Hey Barnaby, funny thing is appointed counsel represents most all defendants who are in custody awaiting trial. If a guy can’t make bond then he probably can’t afford private counsel. Even when charged with non- bondable offenses most people of means will get bail by either stipulation, or at Arthur hearing, because they will have lots of collateral, and the support of friends and family of means and position. Lets face it, well to do people don’t generally commit the types of crimes that lead to a no bond situation for example, armed robbery, armed burglary, or kidnapping.
The general rule is if you are in jail delay is punishment, if you are on bond delay can only help. I don’t think very many people sit in jail because the attorney is waiting for payments from the defendant’s family I would like to think there were none

Anonymous said...

3:14 - In the last round of postings, I think someone made an excellent point. Current and former PDs are not monolithic in their views about BHB, so frankly the back and forth from both camps (especially three years later - let it go, people) is a bit skewed. I think the reality is that a lot of us who worked for the office had a great deal of fondness for the job itself - fighting on behalf of the poor against the overwhelming power of the state. Indeed, I'm sure most of us had great experiences with our immediate supervisors, but you must admit that reasonable minds can differ as to how much of that is truly attributable to BHB. You haven't really addressed Christian's central point which is that there are a LOT of administration lawyers getting very high raises all the while telling the pit lawyers that "the legislature" is restricting the raises to 3%.
Its perfectly legitimate to question the 32 year reign of Bennett without slandering either the office or the people who are doing the questioning. Its no great mystery that there continues to be discontent among the ranks.
Gabe Martin clearly wasn't the right person to take over the job, but that doesn't mean a change isn't needed. Maybe we should talk about that rather than slinging mud.

Rumpole said...

Judge Glick posted this in the comments section to the previous post, but it also should be here.


Lenny Glick has left a new comment on your post "VERY VERY":

RUMPOLE
F.Y.I.

I would like to provide some information on the reasons that The State of Florida v.Harrell Braddy took 8 1/2 years to get to trial.

The case began in November, 1998.

The defendant had never been to trial on the case until jury selection began two weeks ago on June 25th, 2007.

The defendant has not been confined to a treatment facility during this period. He as been in DCJ since November 1998.
He has had over this period of time 5 sets of court appointed counsel starting with the Public Defenders office.
The State was and is seeking the death penalty.

It appears from the record that after each set of lawyers would be up to speed on the case and ready for trial there would be raised a conflict of interest that would cause the court handling the case to appoint a new team of lawyers.

It does not appear that any of these sets of lawyers initiated those conflicts in order to delay or hinder the start of the trial.
The defendant appears to have created these conflicts with these attorneys in order to delay the inevitable day of reckoning.

After the first team was allowed to withdraw I cannot say why the same thing was allowed to happen four more times.

I came into the case about a year ago when Judge Barzee was transfered downtown.
I was to cover the division until a new Circuit Judge appointment was made and a permanent assignment to Barzee's division was made as well.

The Braddy case came up for trial and I was ready to handle it in the division.
The defendant came up with yet another issue and tried to fire/conflict out the lawyers.
I said no and found for the record this was a series of delaying tactics by the defendant designed to delay the case from going to trial.
The defendant then passed the FARRETTA test and as required I ruled that he could represent himself.
The Governor appointed the Hon. Reemberto Diaz to the Circuit Court. Judge Diaz was assigned to Judge Barzee's division and would have been responsible for handling Mr. Braddy's case from that point on.
As fate would have it Judge Diaz was one of the attorneys who had represented Harrell Braddy. He would have had to recuse himself.
That would have meant a "blind filing" to a new division and a new judge and therefore a new delay.
With the approval of the Administrative Judge we kept State v. Braddy in the back-up division.
I handled the motions, trial settings and monitored the depositions while the defendant was pro-se. The defendant decided to have his attorneys resume handling the case. The"stand by" counsel Jimmy Dela Fera and Terry Lennemon continued to prepare the case for the trial.

I can tell you from my handling of the case that no attorney connected with the case purposly caused this case to be prolonged for any improper reason as has been implied by previous posts.

From what I know, the attorneys were nothing less than professionals and were doing their best to represent this most difficult client.

Jury selection beganon June 25th, 2007. From 243 potential jurors 15 people were seated on July 9th, 2007.
Testimony continues as of this writing.
I hope this information is of some value to your readers.

Lenny Glick

Anonymous said...

Barnaby, you are well-intentioned but your lack of real-life practice experience makes you naive, as you correctly acknowledge.

First of all, no defense attorney delays the trial of a truly innocent person in jail or out, except to get evidence and witness to prove his innocence and disprove/discredit the State's evidence of guilt, which in a truly innocent person's case would consist of perjured or mistaken testimony or planted or improperly collected or analyzed evidence. Even in cases of truly innocent defendants the prosecutors will say: "I believe my witnesses and evidence and you show me otherwise, and I'll consider it". It's taken me about a year and a half to prove to the prosecutor that my client was innocent. Yes, the presumption of innocence is great in theory, but in real life you work with a presumption of guilt and the delays may be absolutely necessary.

In real life, however, most of the time you'll have factually guilty defendants and delays may be most necessary to obtain a good outcome in the case. Delays can make the difference between death, life in prison, or a long sentence and a short prison term, probation, or even an outright nolle prosse. Some jailed clients listen to "jailhouse lawyers" instead of their own lawyers and want to file demands for speedy trial. However, once the defense attorney explains the benefits of the strategy they will gladly sit a couple of years in jail than 20 years in prison. Here, delaying the case would be in the absolute best interests of the client.

As to delaying a case to get paid, unfortunately, it is a necessary evil. No attorneys would practice criminal law if they couldn't get paid, and most defendants go on a payment plan because few can pay their attorneys' fee upfront. Very few defendants will continue making their fee payments after an acquittal or dismissal, as most of us defense attorneys have found out rather quick in our idealistic early years of practice. If you want to get into deep morality and religion, Jesus Himself said that a worker is entitled to his wages, and the Bible lists depriving a worker of his wages as one of the sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. So why should criminal defense lawyers be the excepotion?

If you had life experience in private practice you should have never prosecuted that attorney, and once you lost, you would have left things alone. Now you should do the right thing, both for clients and attorneys, and request that the Supreme Court approve the referee's finding. Maybe the Bar should hire retired lawyers with practical experience as Bar counsel. That would prevent well-intentioned but misguided prosecutions such as this one.

Before you prosecute attorneys for things other than thefts of client funds and similar things, please, be mindful of your lack of practical experience and run things by experienced attorneys so that you may not unwittingly commit an injustice. Thank God for that referee who things correctly in that case!

Anonymous said...

Rumpole check out a case from about twenty years ago. State v. David Lee Hodges. The defendant sat in the DCJ for 6 1/2 years before going to trial. He went through 3 sets of lawyers. Charged with two counts of 1st Degree Murder, he was convicted of two counts of 2nd Degree Murder, received 20 years (concurrent), credit of time served. He was paroled after 10 years and is now the owner of three restaurants here in Miami.

Anonymous said...

Should a judge be blogging about a murder trial he is currently presiding over?

Anonymous said...

4:56: While I assume your comment is not meant to insult me, please also don't assume that I prosecuted an attorney simply for asking for continuances. Rumpole's "hope" is correct: it was an unusal and severe case. I was seeking disbarment because it was an attorney who should never have been practicing law to begin with. Not because he asked for continuances, but because he violated a number of rules and injured a number of clients.

Second, while I understand your argument, I still believe it is contrary to the rule concerning expediting litigation. The purpose of the rule is to ensure "speedy" trials. The court system should not be a wait and see arena. I agree with the original poster who started this discussion: just because everyone does it, does not mean that it is okay. If your definition of justice is to get the best plea for your client, I respectfully believe you are naive. There are many parties involved in the court system, not just the defendant. Let's not forget the victims, witnesses, and everyone else is affected by the crime that was committed. Is it just that a defendant gets a slap on the wrist because the case has been dragging around for years? I understand your necessity to get the best deal for your client and to follow your client's directives, but I still think there are times that by simply delaying the case, it results in a violation of the rule concerning expediting litigation.

And if you read my post correctly, I never faulted private attorneys for delaying cases in order to get paid. I admitted that it is unfortunately a necessary evil. But it is "evil" nevertheless. I remain by my original statement that I don't think it is right that someone sit in jail (or on bond, or house arrest, etc.) because you want to get paid. But again, you do deserve to get paid and there is absolutely no reason you should provide free services. That's the reason I said it was a Catch-22.

Finally, about your concern that I run things by "experienced" attorneys, I do. I have never assumed that I know everything. The system we have with Bar cases is a good system. Not only am I involved, but there are grievance committees made up of experienced lawyers and non-lawyers, the Board of Governors made up of experienced lawyers oversees every case, and the Staff Counsel from my Tallahassee office has to approve every single prosecution (Ken Marvin, a former public defender from Miami). So please don't assume that I am prosecuting attorneys based solely on naivete. There is much more involved.

I may be naive, but I don't appreciate you insinuating that I am stupid.

Barnaby Min

Anonymous said...

More precisely, should a judge be blogging about a case he is presiding over where he is the ultimate decision maker whether this defendant should receive the death penalty and he has already decided that this is"a most difficult client."
Where we have enjoyed Judge Glick's posts in the past, we too think his comments while judging a death penalty case are inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I had the pleasure of supervising Barnaby many moons ago. He is bright, talented and hard working. He has excellent judgment. And, if you give him half a chance, is reasonable. He is not, as you say, naive, let alone clueless.

Delaying cases to get paid is bullshit. It's bad for the system and unfair to the state and victims (Hello! Taxpayers have to pony up every time a case appears on calendar! What's wrong with the judges who force taxpayers, many of whom make FAR less than most defense attorneys, to spend their hard earned money so an attorney can get paid?). While it sucks when a client doesn't pay, it doesn't justify dragging cases out.

Now that I think about it.......this would be a great article for the Miami Herald. Hey Suzanne, do an story about how some of our illustrious judges screw taxpayers by allowing defense attorneys to drag out cases so they can be paid. I can't wait to see which defense attorney is dumb enough to be interviewed supporting that.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

A serious reminder to all of us who work in the criminal justice system as a bail bondman named Jerry Dongo was shot and killed on Monday night while attempting to take a client into custody.

The facts and circumstances will certainly be investigated, but for now, Mr. Dongo, age 32, leaves behind three children.

All of us, from the police to the prosecutors to the defense attorneys, judges, bailiffs, court staff, and corrections officers, all work in an occupation, where, at any time, any one of us could get injured or killed by an accused.

Let's all say a prayer for the family of Jerry Dungo.

CAPTAIN OUT ................

Anonymous said...

Captain. Thank you for your prayers for the family of Jerry Dongo. He was a great man. The defendant has been charged with possn of a f/a by a felon and not murder. That is ridiculous.

Rumpole said...

In defense of Judge Glick, he was NOT blogging about the case, as in blogging about the proceedings before him. He was answering a question about why it took so long to bring the case to trial.
Answering that question- to a lawyer in Au Bon Pain, to a stranger on a train, to a family member, or to just about anyone is not inappropriate. He is not commenting about the facts of the case; the strenghts or weaknesses of the case; the defense; the prosecution; or anything relevant that might affect his ability to be fair. He was just answering a question "why did it take so long?" It is a fair question, and the answer was not inappropriate in any manner.

Rumpole said...

6:51- many times a defendant who kills someone is not immediately arrested for murder. That does not mean the charges will not be filed. First degree murder can only be charged by a grand jury. I would speak to the detective or prosecutor assigned to the case before making a blanket statement that the defendant will not be charged with murder.

Anonymous said...

SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION ANNOUNCES APPLICANTS FOR CONFLICT REGIONAL COUNSEL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2007
CONTACT: Tina McCain Matte, Chair,
Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission
TELEPHONE: 239/275-5758

The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission received a total of 34 applications for consideration for five newly created Offices of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, established during the 2007 legislative session by Senate Bill 1088 and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist, under F.S.27.511. The offices will be created within the geographic boundaries of each of the five District Courts of Appeal.

By Statute, the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission will recommend three qualified applicants for each Regional Counsel position to Gov. Crist, who will appoint the Regional Counsels subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Interviews are scheduled for July 19 and 20, at the Florida Bar Offices in the Tampa Airport Marriott. Alphabetically, the applicants include:

Ngozi C. Acholonu, Maitland
Jane C. Almy, Daytona Beach
Angela M. Ball, Perry
Mariza de Guzman Cobb, Hollywood
Shirley L. Cummings, Groveland
Joseph N. D'Achille, Jr., Orlando
Jeffrey D. Deen, Oviedo
Jeffries H. Duvall, Tallahassee
Richard L. Fetterer, Naples
Jackson S. Flyte, Winter Haven
Joseph P. George, Miami
Debra Gotlib, Jupiter
Jennifer Hixson, Vero Beach
James R. Jessell, Fort Myers
Edward J. Kelly, Naples
Clyde G. Killer, Fort Pierce
Judith L. Kinney, Cocoa
Jeffrey E. Lewis, Pensacola
Howard Lindsky, Gainesville
AuBroncee Martin, Gainesville
Philip J. Massa, West Palm
Michelle Migdal, Delray Beach
Judith Migdal-Mack, Boynton Beach
Heather Morcroft, Orlando
Dr. Belinda Noah, Tampa
Daniel W. Perry, Orlando
Eric C. Pinkard, St. Petersburg
Edmund D. Quintana, Panama City
Michael P. Reiter, Tallahassee
Charles H. Scruggs, Tampa
Melody Stickel-Martinez, Pembroke Pines
George Harry Stopp, Pensacola
David J. Tarbert, Tallahassee
John A. Tomasino, Tallahassee
###

Anonymous said...

Mr. Min does Ken Marvin approve of this blogging adventure.

Anonymous said...

The ultimate Third DCA panel:

Dan, Shannon & Boomer!

Anonymous said...

Its hysterical that anyone who writes their name is 1. attacked, or 2. questioned about whether they should be blogging.

Some of you need to get new material

Anonymous said...

It is always nice to hear from JASON GREY. He is very smart, ethical, respected, admired by his peers, above reproach. He would be a great candidate for public office. I hope he considers running for Judge or PD. He has the respect of so many.

Anonymous said...

Dont see one recognizable South Floridian willing to work the conflict office ... slim pickins? or does anybody recognize someone who can do the impossible?

Anonymous said...

Does it matter what I do on my private time?

Barnaby

Anonymous said...

BARNABY MIN, please don't stop blogging. One of the biggest problems we have is that the ethical rules are so unclear and open to interpretation. I GREATLY appreciate your insights and wish more Bar attorneys were so open.

Thank you.

PS---RUMP, you should ask Barnaby to be a guest blogger and answer ethical questions here. It would be an incredible service.

Anonymous said...

How interesting how few people from south Fla. want the job as PD2????

Anonymous said...

Barnaby Min was my staff counsel when I chaired a bar grievance committee. I can vouch for him -- he's smart, committed, and totally fair.

Anonymous said...

The only person I know on that entire list is Mariza Cobb. She used to be a prosecutor, and is married to Jim Cobb, also a former prosecutor. Now, there are two legal scholars! What a coup it would be to get the illustrious Mrs. Cobb at the Regional Conflict office.

Rumpole said...

If Mr. Min would send me an email I would invite him to be a guest blogger in charge of ethics.

Anonymous said...

Christian, why don't you put your name as candidate for PDO 2 and see if you can do it better than BHB? I think you can.

Anonymous said...

*****Someone stated:

Anonymous said...
Mr. Min does Ken Marvin approve of this blogging adventure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 10:10:00 PM

****The response by Mr. Min -

Anonymous said...
Does it matter what I do on my private time?

Barnaby

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 8:53:00 AM

My thought is why not have Chief Justice Lewis blogging away on his free time. KFR doing the same with Chief Judge Farina attacking her on this blog.

Is this what we have become the people in charge of prosecuting lawyers and taking away the license to practice law will now blog on a site that has called Judges idiots, lawyers thiefs.

With all due respect to Rumpole who has done a great job with his blog. The issue is that this blog has been a source of rumor, inuendo and sometimes just outright lies.

Question: Should one of the 5 lawyers in charge of prosecuting lawyers be blogging away?

Fact: Most of the lawyers who do get slammed by the bar seem to be "bottom feeders" (the blog term not mine) and not the real dishonest lawyers on the top floors of the Bank America Building.

Point: When was the last time the bar went after a lawyer from Holland & Knight or White & Case or other larger firms for minor misconduct compared to how many times "Bottom Feeders" end up answering complaints for minor misconduct. Mr. Min what are the statistics?

Reality Check: The bottom feeders are the true soul of the defense bar, They deal with real people with real issues. They also are the target of the bar far more than other lawyers for minor misconduct.

Again Rumpole you have done a great job with your blog and I am not attacking you or the blog just the issue of high ranking brass blogging away. Do I have a point?

Anonymous said...

3:45:00 pm you do have a point.

Anonymous said...

3:45-----------that's a bunch of crap. I was on a grievance committee. You have no idea what you are talking about. We NPC'd many sole practitioners. Your assumption that Bar attorneys persecute people is unfair.

PS---I was investigated by the Bar a couple of times when I was a prosecutor (amazing thing about defendants who go to prison; they've got plenty of time to file frivolous complaints. Unfortunately, they're not alone). They handled my cases more slowly than I would have liked, but I always got a fair result. I was cleared each time. I dealt with 3 different staff counsel. They all treated me with dignity and respect (even though one of the complaints was quite serious; fortunately, they respected my rights, did a proper investigation, and learned I was totally innocent).

Anonymous said...

Jason:

While I appreciate that some lawyers like yourself (and Sy Gaer) do not prefer to take depositions, I'm from the "be prepared" school of practice and I'll take a deposition every time to: (1) learn what the witness is going to say; and to (2) lock the witness in to their statement. If that means more work for me, so be it. I am of the firm belief that a better prepared lawyer is a better lawyer.

BR

Anonymous said...

BAR DISCIPLINE: IF one reviews in the Fla. bar news the attorney disciplined bi-monthly you will see that perhaps 1% are from the "big firms". The last time I saw a big firms accused of and punished for ethics was Ruden Barnett- one of the founders or top partners for real estate chicanery. Sole practitioners in the legal profession are like the way minorities are treated in the criminal justice system.

Anonymous said...

I understand about the grievance backlog regarding lawyers accused of "unethically protracting" a matter, but what about a lawyer who outright lies in a court document ? More specifically, if a Florida licensed attorney claims her client never did business under another trade name, knowing that she herself was the registered agent for multiple trade names, is she permitted to lie with impunity or face sanctions accordingly ?